Keeee mushkeeeeel! As Bongs constantly moan and groan each time they encounter a problem. The rest of us use a much ruder expression that begins with an 'F', and ends with a 'K'. Somehow, I don't see Bhansaliji being this crass. He is an aesthete, remember? Every line, every sentence, every shot in his movies, is imbued with bhaari meaning. But as a practical Maharashtrian woman myself, I am very solutions-driven and want to protect Padmavati. This is my solution: Bhansaliji is Gujju. An unusual Gujju. He first dreams. Then thinks. Someone pays for his thinking by making that dream come true on the screen. And millions of fans feel happy. Majaa avechchh! His movies are the ultimate fantasies - wives dance with mistresses. Husbands and lovers watch the spectacle. Someone dies of a broken heart. Another dies because of unrequited pyaar. The women die, anyway. All these events are staged against the backdrop of magnificent havelis, palaces and battlefields. It's all very dramatic and watchable. But history, it ain't! Who is looking for history? Or even logic? Does anybody question Star Wars? Has even a single affronted viewer stoned theatres when The Ten Commandments was screened, and Charlton Heston played Moses? That's why we go to the movies! To escape. Relax. Feel enchanted and transported to the magical kingdom of cinema. But all this is wasting space and precious time.
I have a selfish interest here, I must admit. I am dying to book my ticket - first day, first show. Like millions of others. I am not watching it as a historically accurate documentary. In any case, even history has many versions, depending on who witnessed what, and which person faithfully chronicled those events. Even this creates problems. Two people don't 'see' things in the exact same way ever. The art of seeing is also selective and subjective. The many rich and varied histories of the world are still being written and challenged. So it is with movies based on folklore, myths and popular legends.
My suggestion to rename the film, was said half-in-jest. Why should anybody be coerced to rename anything? Or, be held to ransom? Why should Sanjay Leela Bhansali have to plead with random people? And screen his film for some arbitrary committee, that will then decide its fate! Rubbish! Padmavati belongs to our imagination as much as to Bhansali's. We will decide whether or not the movie appeals to us. It's time to stand up to cultural bullies and do it as one. What 'hurt sentiments' are we talking about? Have those 'hurt' people watched the film? No! Hurt by what? Rumour? Conjecture? Guesswork?
One chhota sa question: How come your powerful Bollywood colleagues have still to show solidarity and stand shoulder to shoulder with you? Itni jealousy, kya?
(Shobhaa De is an established writer, columnist, opinion shaper and social commentator, who is considered an authority on popular culture.)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
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